Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said earlier this month that President
Bush is committed to “making certain that we honor our obligations
to Mexico, which are part of NAFTA,” indicating he is committed
to allowing Mexican trucks onto U.S. highways.
was asked Jan. 17 if there was any official reaction to the Jan.
16 Ninth Circuit Court ruling ordering the administration to assess
the environmental effects of allowing Mexican trucks to travel
on U.S. highways beyond U.S. commercial zones.
the court ordered the U.S. Department of Transportation to prepare
an environmental impact statement and Clean Air Act conformity
determination before Mexican trucks can travel beyond U.S. commercial
In its ruling,
the court found DOT "acted arbitrarily and capriciously"
by failing to prepare a full environmental statement. On May 1,
2002, the Teamsters union joined a coalition of environmental,
labor and consumer groups in a lawsuit to stop the Bush administration
from opening the border to Mexican truck traffic.
to Fleischer came during the regular White House press briefing.
Here’s what he said:
that review from the court in San Francisco is under review --
the opinion of the court in San Francisco is under review. The
president is committed to living up to NAFTA, to our NAFTA obligations,
by opening the border to our friends in the South in a way that
is consistent with safety.
president demonstrated this commitment when he lifted the moratorium
on Mexican trucking in November of 2002. We have worked to ensure
that the regulations require stringent safeguards to keep America's
the regulations require that all Mexican trucks that enter the
United States adhere to all U.S. federal, state and local environmental
laws and regulations.
of the specific case, which was just decided yesterday, the Justice
Department is reviewing its specific substance…
president does feel strongly about making certain that we honor
our obligations to Mexico, which are part of NAFTA. And he does
believe very strongly that it can be done in a way that's consistent
with all environmental regulations."